Volunteers Make Sure Veterans Have A Merry Christmas

By Charlotte Huffman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Volunteers came together at a Philadelphia shelter Thursday to make sure no veteran was left without a Christmas.

Executive director of the Philadelphia Veterans House, Brigid Gallagher, says the non-profit expects to serve more than 100 veterans on Christmas:

“A holiday such as Christmas where is one where it is so important to have people around you that really love you. This is our opportunity to give them just that. A lot of these guys are coming off of the streets and being homeless so this is something that they really look forward to throughout the year.”

Veterans received a Christmas meal with all of the trimmings — a hot shower and free items, warm blankets, socks, coats, clothes and toiletries.

But many of them said what they look forward to the most is the company.

“It brings back memories of being in the service and the camaraderie we have. It is like being in the family,” said veteran Christopher Joyner.

“I love it here because I am around vets, people who understand me. We all have a common core,” adds veteran Randolph Shaird.

The Christmas Day event was a volunteer driven operation with vets helping other vets.

“It all means a lot. You go downtown and see people standing around who don’t have a place to go. I hope someday I can return the help they gave me to someone else,” said Shaird.

“We are all heroes one way or another whether we are out on the street homeless or out on the battlefield. It doesn’t make a difference. We all stick together,” said veteran Timothy Wynn.

Wynn and other volunteers collected hundreds of coats and blankets for the event’s clothes drive.

Ed Green says if it weren’t for the helping hand he received at the Philadelphia Veteran’s House he would be cold and hungry on the streets on Christmas.

“This place is a lifesaver … It is a blessing and it goes a long way,” said Green.

The Philadelphia Veterans House, at 4108 Baltimore Avenue in West Philadelphia offers meals, shelter and support to veterans year-round.

Funded by community sponsors and private donors the organization aims to help veterans seeking to rebuild their lives.

For more information or to donate go to www.vetscomforthouse.org.

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